Stories and opinions that spark creative thinking

My idea spread. Here’s how you can make yours spread, too.

Seth Godin is a remarkable person. And I don’t say that just because a lot of other people say it, or to cleverly give a nod to Purple Cow. I say it because throughout the years he’s made himself a timeless and invaluable inspiration to marketers, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to make change.

Over the month of March I was lucky enough to be a part of Seth’s 4th altMBA class, which I now consider to be another invaluable source of inspiration. Well worth the time invested. And after completing it, I poured everything I’d learned into a presentation about strategy and business, specifically for designers—it’s about how to make change with our work. 

I feel like most people in business don’t take designers seriously. That they often think of designers as just odd little fashion-conscious people with severe haircuts and no acumen, who love to make goofy illustrations and/or use Helvetica. "Give them a brightly-colored studio full of Macs and an outlet for them to show their appreciation of Helvetica and all will be well," they think. "But business is no place for them." 

Call me crazy, but I also feel like that’s got to stop. So I created the presentation.

Now, if you’ve ever worked for a very large, global organization like I do and tried to get a new idea through the pipeline to someone who might say, “yes,” you know how difficult it can be. Nonetheless, I wanted the organization where I work to be the launch pad for my Strategy and Business for Designers presentation. This felt like the perfect place to pay everything I’d learned forward.

My idea spread

Turns out that getting to “yes,” was nowhere near as hard as I’d imagined, and in reality is was more about getting to a place where my idea would spread to an initial group of adopters. Within two days I went from an idea, to a platform to give my presentation to a group of over 40 people in key creative positions globally.

Here are three rules that will help you get there, too:

  1. Just do it
    Doing nothing is expensive. Take a page from Nike’s playbook and don’t stop to wait for anyone to say “yes” or “no.”
  2. Know your “yes”
    Who do you know who is most likely to say, “yes” and in a position to help your idea spread? Take it to that person first.
  3. Make it relevant
    What does your idea have to do with the goals of the people you’re aiming to present it to? What’s in it for them? Be generous. Craft it so there’s something in it for them when they say “yes” and spread it.

Having an idea is the easy part. Everyone has an idea… or two… or three. And most of those ideas are not worth executing, so it can be incredibly difficult to get people to pay attention.

That means practicing and learning how to sell an idea is just as important as knowing who to sell it to, and who to sell it to will change depending on the idea. All you need is that one key “yes” person—because that person is the one who’s going to help you get to more “yes” people.

But don’t just sit around here reading. Remember, doing nothing is expensive. Go make your idea! And after you do it, don’t be afraid to take it to whoever is most inclined to help you give it wings.

Alyssa YeagerComment